OPINION: Everyone should try going cruelty-free

(Illustration by Audrey Hockersmith | The Collegian)

Using animals for scientific and commercial testing of goods and services is something that is constantly debated.

Around 1 million animals and 100 million mice and rats are used in experiments in the U.S. alone, according to the “Experiments on Animals: Overview” page on the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animal’s website.

These animals are being killed in laboratories for cosmetics testing, biology lessons and medical training, to name a few.

As society has started going the organic route to avoid added chemicals in foods, I am confused as to why people are not more concerned with what is going on behind the other goods we are purchasing, like cosmetics.

American consumers are found to be more trusting of independent third-party seals of approval and logos when it comes cruelty-free claims, according to the Leaping Bunny Program, which works with companies “to help make shopping for animal-friendly products easier and more trustworthy.”

This is a serious problem — we are more interested in labels than what is really behind them.

The label of “organic” looks good and healthy; however, organic processed foods are still processed. The “cruelty-free” claim looks good, but it is just more of a hassle and expense.

Last summer I went through a phase where I would use no cosmetic products that were linked to animal testing. What may sound like an easy venture was actually incredibly difficult.

It was difficult because for some, the pros of animal testing outweigh the cons.

Animal testing helps researchers find drugs and treatments, which improves human health and helps ensure the safety of drugs. It is also helpful because alternative methods of testing do not simulate humans in the same way, according to the About Animal Testing article titled “Using animals for testing: Pros versus cons.”

On the other hand, the section listed cons, such as the captivity and sometimes killing of animals, the high price tag that comes with such tests, and the uncertainty of whether some substances tested will be used.

After dragging myself through aisles and aisles at a variety of stores to find what I thought would be the best for the animals and the best for me, I found, in the end, what was not actually best for me.

Skin sensitization tests use 32 guinea pigs or 16 mice, skin irritation or corrosion tests use between one and three rabbits, eye irritation tests use between one and three rabbits, and oral toxicity tests use seven rats. Other tests for birth defects use thousands of rats or rabbits, and tests for the beginning stages of cancer can use hundreds of rats or mice, according to the Humane Society of the United States.

I would rather see products tested on small, easily reproduced animals than risk developing cancer or risk my future children being born with birth defects.

Animal testing has many pros that outweigh the cons because it prevents a variety of possible harm from being inflicted on humans.